My beautiful Family

My beautiful Family

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Grandpa...tell me 'bout the good old days...

Yes that is a Judd's song, my favorite of all time.  Not because it is catchy, not because they sing it really really good, not because of anything other than it is my grandpa and my song.  As far back as I can remember, I would always say "Grandpa" in that way when he would say something really silly like carrots (caruts is how he would say it, you see my grandpa is from England and that is how he talked and it was a running joke between us to get him to say carrots, bear and scrunchies, that was my favorite), and I would say "Grandpa" and he would always finish with "tell me 'bout the good old days" and not just say it, he would sing it to me, every single time.  Every time I talked to him on the phone, say him in person, that was our thing, no one else's.  I can't hear that song without thinking of my grandpa.

5 years ago, my grandpa had a stroke.  He was found on the floor in his bedroom by my aunt (great aunt, his sister) when he didn't show up to church on Sunday morning and he didn't call her or answer the phone when she tried to call him.  We found out later he had been laying on the floor for 24 hours before she found him.  The fire department couldn't get in to him right away because of the bars on his door and windows, but they finally got in.  I will always remember the phone call from my mom telling me he had a stroke, he was at the hospital and she was on her way to check on him.  He recovered from the stroke almost completely within a few weeks I think it was, and then he started having strokes again.  I think he had 6 or 7 of them total.  We were told he would never be back to himself again.  He would never walk again, he would never be able to be on his own again, might never eat again.  My grandpa wasn't my grandpa anymore, he was a shell of the person he used to be.  But he was still my grandpa.  It took him some time to get used to the fact that he was going to have to stay in a nursing home for the rest of his life, he went through depression, anxiety, hallucinations that someone was trying to kill him (he has no mobility or feeling in his right arm, and it would flop over him during the night and he thought it was a person), acceptance, back to depression, back to acceptance and so on.  It has been a roller coaster ride with him, but every time I go see him, I will always get him to say carrots, bear, and scrunchies (my absolute favorite because he says it skrungies) and I will always say "Grandpa" and he will say "tell me 'bout the good old days" even though you can't fully understand him.  He is always in good spirits, joking around, making everyone laugh even when he is hurting.  The last time I talked to him I told him that I was going to come see him, but he had to get out of the hospital first, and he said, "I did, but you didn't come so I came back!"  He was only out for a day, then had to be re-admitted for pneumonia again.  He has decided that there will be no more hospital trips for him, and he told the nurses that he is ready to die, he is tired, he has been fighting for a long time.  I can't say that I blame him, he can't even get out of bed anymore, I don't know if I would have lasted as long, but I am greedy, I want my grandpa, I need my grandpa.

I don't think I am fully ready for the day that he isn't here with us anymore, even typing that tears me apart, he has been more than a grandpa to me, he was a father when I didn't have one, a disciplinarian when I needed one, a protector when I didn't want one, and everything I needed when I didn't know I needed it.  I keep telling myself that I am ready, and I will be able to handle it when he goes, but I know I am not ready, I know I will handle it because God will never give me more than I can handle, but it won't be easy.  For as long as I live, there will be so many things that remind me of him, the name Billy (his "twin" brother that used to scare the daylights out of me as a kid), brown paper bags (he used to play with an invisable ball and catch it in the brown paper bag), Toby Keith (he introduced me to Toby Keith music and got me a cassette tape of his), McHammer (he used to make me mix tapes and send them to me all the time), potatoes, (his favorite food in the whole world), cheese (he HATES cheese and I always tease him that I will make him potatoes and he gets all excited, and then I tell him I will put lots and lots of cheese on it and he always says "gross!!!" and then we all crack up).  I know there will come a day where he will not be here, and when I go to San Antonio to visit my mom and grandma, I won't go to the nursing home to see him and it will be so weird, and I won't be asking her how grandpa is anymore and it will take a lot of getting used to because I talk to her almost every day and I always ask how he is doing and what is the lastest on him.  I know there will be a day that I hear that song on the radio and just burst into tears because he won't be there to say "tell me 'bout the good old days" anymore.  But I know that he will be better off, he won't be in that nursing home anymore, he won't be tired anymore, and he will be happy.  I will see him again someday when it happens, but for now, I will stick to calling him and mom translating our conversation and sending hugs and kisses (on the cheek always on the cheek becuase that is just the way he is) and cherish the time I have left with my wonderful grandpa, who will tell me 'bout the good old days

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